Almendra v. IAC (G.R. No. 76111, November 21, 1991)

In Almendra v. IAC (G.R. No. 76111, November 21, 1991), petitioners contended that the appellate court erred in having sanctioned the sale of particular portions of yet undivided real properties.

While petitioners’ contention is basically correct, there is, however, no valid, legal and convincing reason for nullifying the questioned deeds of sale. Petitioner had not presented any strong proof to override the evidentiary value of the duly notarized deed of sale. Moreover, the testimony of the lawyer who notarized the deeds of sale that he saw not only Aleja (the mother) signing and affixing her thumbmark on the questioned deeds but also Angeles (one of the children) and Aleja “counting the money between them,” deserves more credence that the self-serving allegations of the petitioners. Such testimony is admissible as evidence without further proof of the due execution of the deeds in question and is conclusive as to the truthfulness of their contents in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

The petitioners’ allegation that the deeds of sale were obtained thru fraud, undue influence and misrepresentation and that there was a defect in the consent of Aleja in the execution of the documents because she was then residing with Angeles, had not been fully substantiated. They failed to show that the uniform price of P2,000 in all the sales was grossly inadequate. The sales were effected between a mother and two of her children in which case filial more must be taken into account.

The unquestionability of the due execution of the deeds of sale notwithstanding, the Court may not put an imprimatur on the instrinsic validity of all the cases. The Aug. 10, 1973 sale to Angeles of one-half portion of the conjugal property may only be considered valid as a sale of Aleja’s one-half interest therein. Aleja could not have sold the particular hilly portion specified in the deed of sale in the absence of proof that the conjugal partnership property had been partitioned after the death of Santiago (the husband of Aleja). Before such partition, Aleja could not claim title to any definite portion of the property for all she had was an ideal or abstract quota or proportionate share in the entire property. The sale of the one-half portion of land covered by Tax Declaration 27190 is valid because said property is paraphernal. As regards the sale of property covered by Tax Declaration 115009, Aleja could not have intended the sale of the whole property, since said property had been subdivided. She could exercise her right of ownership only over Lot 6366 which was unconditionally adjudicated to her in said case. Lot 6325 was given to Aleja subject to whatever may be the rights of her son Magdaleno Ceno. The sale is subject to the condition stated above. Hence, the rights of Ceno are amply protected. The rule on caveat emptor applies.